Swazi Nation: Notes

Names of the Swazi

The Swazi are known by the name emaSwazi or Ebantfu ba kwa Ngwane (isiZulu forms), the latter being the older form and meaning 'the people of Ngwane' - the founder of the nation. Apparently from the reign of Mswazi who was successful in expanding the nation the people came to be known as emaSwazi. The Swazi also refer to his country as kaNgwane rather than eSwatini.


The national language is siSwati, a largely unwritten language closely related to isiZulu, from which relevant styles are frequently borrowed.

Rulers of the Swazi

In the traditional manner of the Nguni polities, the Swazi Nation is headed by the dual leadership of a male Ngwenyama ("Lion") and of his actual or notional mother, Ndlovukati ("Elephant"); the latter continues to act after the death of the Ngwenyama while a consort of the deceased ruler is selected to be the mother of the next Ngwenyama and to become Ndlovukati upon his coming of age and acceding.

Last updated on: 30 Apr 2011 06:23:43